MOORHEAD — Moorhead will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day — with a powwow, prayer, frybread and more — for the first time Monday, Oct. 14, after the City Council passed a resolution in July to recognize the holiday.

The city has joined with Fargo to celebrate the holiday together through a series of events. Other municipalities and states across the U.S. will also celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which occurs in conjunction with what’s federally recognized as Columbus Day.

“It is a day to enhance understanding and promote harmony through recognition of Indigenous peoples’ culture and contributions,” Native American Commission Chair Sharon White Bear said in a statement.

In 2015, Fargo wholly replaced official city observance of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and just this year, Grand Forks did the same in a July 15 resolution. The city of Moorhead doesn’t officially celebrate the federal holiday, and neither does the state of Minnesota. Other Minnesota cities, including Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Red Wing, have passed their own resolutions to celebrate Indigenous people as well.

“I think it’s extremely important for our history to be heard,” said Heather Keeler, a member of the Fargo Native American Commission, in her July 22 presentation to the Moorhead City Council.

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Heather Keeler, a member of the Moorhead Human Rights Commission, speaks during a July 22 City Council meeting that included a decision to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on what is federally recognized as Columbus Day. Forum file photo
Heather Keeler, a member of the Moorhead Human Rights Commission, speaks during a July 22 City Council meeting that included a decision to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on what is federally recognized as Columbus Day. Forum file photo

Ahead of the Fargo-Moorhead celebration, Fargo City Hall raised the flags of the five tribes that fall within the state of North Dakota: the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate; Spirit Lake; Standing Rock; Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; and the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara nations. The flags will be on display at the main entrance of City Hall through Nov. 30 in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Native American Heritage Month in November, according to a statement from the city.

The first-ever Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration in Moorhead will open at City Hall with a blessing at 9 a.m. and follow with a reconciliation prayer service at 9:50 a.m. at the Knutson Campus Center at Concordia College.

The day will close in cultural celebratory fashion with a community meal featuring chili and frybread at 5 p.m. at the Moorhead High School cafeteria, followed by a powwow in the gymnasium, with the grand entry at 6:30 p.m.

Willard Yellow Bird Jr., Fargo's cultural planner, welcomes Indigenous people and supporters July 22 outside Moorhead City Hall before a City Council meeting to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day. Forum file photo
Willard Yellow Bird Jr., Fargo's cultural planner, welcomes Indigenous people and supporters July 22 outside Moorhead City Hall before a City Council meeting to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day. Forum file photo